The Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan organized a send-off ceremony for Pakistani students being awarded scholarships to study in Chinese universities under the Chinese Government Scholarship Program.
The program was launched in 2019 for Pakistani students to study in 289 designated Chinese universities. So far, 193 Pakistani students have been awarded scholarships under this program, including 40 in 2019, 58 in 2020, 59 in 2021 and 36 this year.
Chairman Higher Education Commission Dr Mukhtar Ahmed and Ambassador of China to Pakistan Mr. Nong Rong graced the ceremony, alongside Executive Director HEC Dr Shaista Sohail, Adviser Global Engagement (HEC) Mr Awais Ahmed, Director General (Scholarships) Ms Aayesha Ikram, and HEC and Embassy officials.
Addressing the ceremony, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said that Pakistan and China enjoy long, cordial relations and they have a long history of cooperation. He said Pakistan acknowledges the support China has been extending at all testing times. He underlined that HEC has turned 20 and, during the last two decades, it has worked together with China institutions on different collaborative programs. He announced that HEC, in collaboration with Chinese partners, will start a one-window operation and set up a web portal as a focal point for all the Chinese scholarship opportunities available for Pakistani students so that the country’s youth could benefit from them to the maximum. He advised the scholarship awardees to respect the Chinese culture and play the ambassadors of Pakistan in China. He added that the students, once they complete their education and return, will become a bridge between the people of the two countries.
Ambassador Nong Rong expressed his pleasure on an in-person interaction with the Pakistani students from different parts of Pakistan. “The award of scholarship is a reward for your hard work and the support of your parents,” he asserted, addressing the awardees. He said that education transforms lives, opens new opportunities and creates strong societies, adding that education is the pathway to socio-economic development of a nation. He observed that universities not only provide academic experience but also pave the way for personal development.
He appreciated HEC for making the program a success and advised the students to “make the most out of the scholarship opportunity”. He hoped that the exchange and cooperation activities between the higher education institutions will produce fruitful results, adding that these activities will further enhance mutual understanding and help improve the level of work together. He also mentioned the issues facing the Pakistani students affected by the COVID-19 restrictions, assuring that China is closely monitoring the situation. These students, he affirmed, will soon be returning to their institutions in China.
Terming Pakistan and China longstanding partners, he said that China is aware of the havoc caused by floods in Pakistan and is trying its best to lend support to Pakistan through donations and fundraising activities. He said that China has extended an aid of RMB 400 million and 25000 tents for the flood-hit areas, in addition to RMB 100 million provided by Chinese military. He also mentioned various other flood relief activities from the Chinese side.
Executive Director HEC shared the background of the Chinese Government Scholarship Program for Pakistani Students. She hoped that the program will not only strengthen people-to-people contacts but also government-to-government collaborations.
Earlier, Director General Ms Aayesha Ikram welcomed the Chinese guests and the students and alumni. An alumnus Mr Tariq Mehmood and a scholarship awardee Mr Asfandyar Amjid also expressed their views on the occasion.
Beside the scholarship awardees, the ceremony was also attended by a number of Pakistani alumni of Chinese universities.